Nerd alert. There is a “cool” (well, at least I think so) tool at the web site FiveThirtyEight.com that allows you to play with the way congressional districts boundaries are drawn. It shows the current district map and then seven alternatives based on tilting toward your party of choice (gerrymandering), geographic compactness, a desire for close races, etc. I don’t want to ruin the surprise but only one of the alternatives actually looks like the Georgia-13th map…I’ll let you decide which.
The district is a half circle made up of Atlanta’s immediate south and west suburbs including the southern parts of Atlanta itself – nearly all of it outside the Interstate 285 perimeter; it includes parts of six different counties.
My guest on this episode is Robin Kemp, a Crime and Safety Reporter at the Clayton News Daily who covers primarily the southern part of the district. Robin’s daily work also takes her into the Georgia-5th, and she speaks to that district as well. The conversation covers life in these communities “outside the perimeter,” where there are opportunities for improvement and where signs of hope exist. Thanks to Robin for joining me!
Growth is a good thing. At least it is generally considered better than the alternative. Just last week on 435 Voices we heard guests from South Dakota and West Virginia discussing a challenge that faces many rural areas across the country, the brain drain that results from young people packing up from their small towns and family farms and heading for the city never to return.
But that’s not the problem in the fifth district of Oklahoma where the population is made up to a very large extent by the city of Oklahoma City. The OKC Chamber’s Web site says the city is growing at twice the national average and in the last decade it has grown by 14 percent and welcomed an NBA basketball franchise.
But while the Thunder are undoubtedly a source of civic pride (the team dominates the headlines even in a football-crazy state), a question seems to be emerging: what’s beyond Thunder (dome.)
In the early 90’s the city launched an initiative called MAPS (Metropolitan Area Project(s), which created a one-cent sales tax that has been used to fund everything from new stadiums to a canal network to a streetcar line. But now that the city has become a destination for people from all over the country, it is now facing a new set of challenges common to larger cities and similar to those found in other high growth areas: Austin, Jacksonville, Charlotte, Columbus.
I have two fantastic guests on this episode. Tres Savage is the Editor in Chief at NonDoc.com and Ben Felder is the News Editor at the Oklahoman, the largest newspaper in the state.